Friday, November 21, 2014

Never Use The Bathroom

Never use the bathroom while playing D&D.

I mean it.


What happened?  I'll tell you what happened.  So, the party is in Suzail, the capital of Cormyr.  Lady Sarafina is trying to be of service to the crown in order to bump up her Cormyrian noble status to something above 'Lady Consort to her Husband the Earl.'  Yeah, sure, she's a Vicountess in a fealty chain extending to Neverwinter, but Sarafina thinks Lord Neverember is a prick and will never bow down before him.  Thus she finds herself trying to kiss the King of Cormyr's ass.  (Sorry, Faerûn PoliSci 101 might be needed here . . . just understand that she's trying to impress royal folks.)

The party, which consists of Lady Sarafina, Caine the Woodsman, Tim the Enchanter (aka Auschwitz Elf because he is painfully skinny) and Sir Kriev the Dragonborn Knight, have been doing odd jobs for a royal minister - like cleaning out demonically possessed prisons.  But one day they find the minister dead in the royal castle.  The guards are not too interested in properly investigating the death, so Lady Sarafina takes charge, blustering and ordering people around like usual.

While questioning the gardener, Sarafina discovers him to be a cagey little bastard, who tries to run from her the multiple times.  During one of his more lucid moments, he said that during the night he had seen a woman shuck off her clothes and toss them into one of the pools in the royal garden.  Grumpy and feeling bloated (Sarafina is pregnant with twins at the moment, btw,) she beat the gardener unconscious, tied him up, and dragged him to the pool.

At the pool was a man in fancy clothes surrounded by a flock of women.

I take this opportunity to GO TO THE BATHROOM.

I return to find the party being ARRESTED BY SECRET SERVICE AGENTS.

What the fuck?

Well, what happened was the man in fancy clothes made a smart ass remark to the party while I was gone.  Tim the Enchanter polymorphed the dude into a FROG, and Sir Kriev picked him up and skipped him like a stone into the pond.

Apparently, that is no way to treat a Crown Prince of Cormyr.




- Ark

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Computer Rebuild

I'm lucky that I enjoy completely reloading Windows from scratch onto a computer.  Oh - wait - I DON'T enjoy that.  Drats.

Oh well, at least I sketched the above while downloading and installed 167 'important' updates from Microsoft.  Enjoy. :)

- Ark

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Horde of the Pirate Queen

I'm still running Horde of the Dragon Queen at the FLGS for the D&D Adventurers League.  It's been fun, but I've had to take the game off the rails for my sanity, as well as the players.  A lot of the reasoning behind situations in Horde of the Dragon Queen just don't make sense and players tend to think that their quest givers are idiots.


A well constructed railroad would have been okay, but this adventure requires a lot of pruning and reworking to feel right - at least for my group.

After getting fed up, I decided to replace all of the faction contacts with new NPCs.  The players felt that Leosin was a useless fool and Ontharr was a pointless poser.  And that's pretty accurate.  So I brought in their supervisors and made them capable, proactive kind of people who set traps for choice cultists in Baldur's Gate and used the PCs to help extract information.  That sat a lot better with the players.  No one likes to work for a moron.

Sections 4 and 5 involve a two-month overland caravan guarding gig while spying on the Cult's treasure caravan travelling from Baldur's Gate to Waterdeep and beyond.  I decided to give the player's some agency and have the Cult split the treasure into multiple shipments travelling in different directs and methods.  So they got to choose their own adventure.

The players chose the sea option.  The cult joined a merchant flotilla and the players followed behind.  Sure, it's just a reskin of the caravan thing, but where else can you get:

  • Auction house deals with Shadovar agents and magical rugs,
  • A socially inept, magically disguised, always laughing Marid sultan/merchant shipping vacuum packed weaponized sand with his ten fish-wives back to the elemental plane of water,
  • Trails of aboleth slime in the ocean, ready to be scooped up by PCs who don't know what will happen if they touch it,
  • Sahuagin boarding parties rising up from the deep,
  • A trip to Mintarn - being just a reskin of FREEPORT,
  • A pink haired gnome theif girl slash whore-house tour guide,
  • Having to post bail and pay back various powerful loan-sharks,
  • A magical wharf that makes ships invisible for a day,
  • A cambion pirate named Captain Dan(te) and his first mate and navigator who happen to be cheerleader/barbie doll sucubbi,
  • A GLABRZU bosun and a cloud of imps that live up in a ship's rigging,
  • Wiping out the fiendish command crew of a pirate vessel with aboleth slime and a sorcerer-induced randomly generated pack of flumphs.
  • Attacking a Mintarn ship-of-the-line from an invisible corvair captained by a renegade succubus out for revenge.
  • Etc.
It's not EXACTLY a reskin.  Okay, I pretty much threw everything in Horde out, including the whole Zentarim/Cultists theft/murder/revenge storyline.  But eventually they'll track down the Cultists again - somewhere in the Mere of Dead Men and be ready for Section 6. :)

- Ark


I drew this while streaming in front of a live studio audience.  Strange experience.  Kinda like DMing in public.  I'l have to do it again sometime. :)

- Ark

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Yelling Sketch

I'm back to fiddling with drawing on the computer.  Sketching on the Nexus kinda got me excited about the computer thing again, so I decided to load up the drivers for the Wacom and see where it went.  Here is the initial sketch with my Bamboo and the reference that I used.  Twenty minutes or so, using SketchBook Pro.  I reqlly enjoy the ease of shading with the program - as opposed to dorking with the pencil.  Oh - and undo is a horrific and wonderful cheat. :)

- Ark

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Two Hours at the Coffee House

Computer is all fixed up and I can scan again.  Above is the result of two hours at the coffee shop this morning, warm-up and all.  Off to go play D&D now.  Enjoy.

- Ark

Friday, November 14, 2014

Lady Sarafina Out of Her Plate Mail

More work on the nexus since my computer is down.  This is Lady Sarafina.  Yup.  She's still alive and kicking, but now in Suzail, married to an Earl, and causing a ruckus at noble parties throughout the city.

- Ark

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Drive Crash

My hard drive crashed yesterday, so I am trying to post this with my nexus.  It's a pain. But I found that Autodesk SketchBook isn't a bad drawing program, since I did the above sketch with it.

But I'm finding out. That tablets are definitely for data consumption, rather than content creation.


- Ark